The Struggle between President Johnson and Congress over Reconstruction

The Struggle between President Johnson and Congress over Reconstruction

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The Struggle between President Johnson and Congress over Reconstruction

The Struggle between President Johnson and Congress over Reconstruction

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Excerpt

THE war of the rebellion afforded opportunity for the people of the United States to obtain a far clearer conception of the powers and limitations of the federal constitution than had previously been possible, and settled beyond possibility of further debate some of the most important questions which had arisen since its interpretation as an "instrument of evidence" had begun. Yet when General Johnston had surrendered his army on April 26, 1865, virtually bringing the war to a close, the country found that one great constitutional question, a question of the highest practical importance, still remained unsolved; and for several years the best energies of our statesmen were occupied with its solution. Eleven of the States had for four years been in armed insurrection, but now, through superior force, they lay helpless at the feet of the Union. Under these circum-

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